Editorial: Venturing into Sounds of Space


William R. Macauley

How have sonic experiences been conceived, articulated, and elided in histories of outer space and narratives of space exploration? This was the core question addressed in a multidisciplinary workshop Sounds of Space hosted at the Freie Universität Berlin in late 2012. [1] This Journal of Sonic Studies (JSS) special issue includes a selection of articles based on papers presented at the workshop. Using a variety of themes as entry points and mobilizing an array of analytical tools, contributors to the special issue revisited the core question in addition to engaging with related questions that focus on specific sites, historical actors, organizations, and situated practices that encapsulate how our understanding of space is mediated in and through sound. Before introducing the individual contributions and additional material, I will say something about how the conception of the original workshop was primarily based on close encounters with sounds of space during my doctoral research on the history of interstellar communication (Macauley 2010). Further, I will examine how the workshop and present collection emerged from the desire to critically engage with a cluster of anomalies, elisions, and assumptions uncovered during research on the historical relationship between sound and space that prompted a series of perplexing questions.

Leaflet for the 2012 Sounds of Space workshop.

Although there are examples of philosophical enquiry and scholarly texts dating back to antiquity on the relationship between sound and space, scientific research on the detection of radio waves from outer space received unprecedented attention from not only the scientific community but also lay audiences in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century (Dick 1996: 401-414; Kahn 2013). This period is particularly interesting in that scientific accounts and news reports of signals from space detected using devices designed for terrestrial telegraphy, telephony, and radio communication described radio waves emitted by stars and other celestial objects as “natural”. Engineers Nikolai Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi detected sounds from space in the form of modulated radio signals, which they interpreted as evidence of interplanetary messages from technologically advanced civilizations (Tesla 1901: 4-5; New York Times 1919; Dick 1996: 402). These signals were portrayed as distinct from the constant background hiss produced by natural objects, such as stars, and intermittent sounds caused by electromagnetic disturbances in the Earth’s atmosphere (Kahn 2013: 25-33).


Similarly, in the early 1930s, radio engineer Karl Jansky worked on a research project for the Bell Telephone Company to identify the origin of what he described as “a steady hiss type static of unknown origin” that might interfere with transatlantic short wave radio voice transmissions (Jansky 1932; Jansky Jr 1979: 12-16). After ruling out atmospheric and human-made sources, Jansky concluded that the strongest static he could hear was radio waves emitted from centre of the Milky Way galaxy. This example of radio waves or “star noise” being identified as emissions from beyond the solar system is often cited as pivotal in terms of the development of radio telescopes for listening to invisible radio waves and the emergence of radio astronomy (Hey 1973; Agar 1998; Sullivan 2009; Macauley 2014b).


The transformation of electromagnetic waves originating from natural objects, such as stars and other celestial objects, into sounds audible to the human ear requires many levels of processing and an array of electronic devices for detecting, amplifying and converting electromagnetic energy into sound. Arguably, sounds from space are anything but natural because humans have no way of directly listening to these emissions but, rather, rely on scientific instruments to transform imperceptible forms of energy into sound. Human perception of natural sounds from space involves collaborative work and extensive communication networks to support methods and technologies for rendering celestial objects into sonic forms that can be recorded, manipulated, augmented, and reproduced.


Newsreels from the 1950s and 1960s provide evidence of confusion and uncertainty on the part of news media producers regarding the sensory properties of invisible radio waves detected using radio telescopes and attendant technologies such as amplifiers and audiovisual displays. Comparison of British newsreel titles that refer to radio telescopes such as Listening to the Stars (1957), Eyes on the Stars (1961), Listening to Space (1963), and Ears to See Through (1964) reveal changes over time with regard to descriptive terms and body metaphors used by scientists and news producers in their attempts to explain how radio telescopes transform radio signals from outer space into sound and pictures.

Figure 1: Screen shots of opening title from newsreels on radio astronomy Listening to the Stars (1957), Eyes on the Stars (1961), Listening to Space (1963), and Ears to See Through (1964)

Similarly, narration on these newsreels reveals how news media producers struggled to explain how radio telescopes transformed radio waves into legible forms. For instance, the narrator of a newsreel about the Jodrell Bank Observatory stated that:


Now he [Sir Bernard Lovell, WM] introduces us to his latest piece of apparatus, the Mark II telescope. A new ear for listening to distant radio sources. An ear through which scientists will be able to see into the past and towards the future. (Narration from Ears to See Through 1964, British Movietone)

VideoObject 1: Ears to See Through (1964, British Movietone).

These examples from the history of space exploration invite questions such as what distinguishes “natural” and “artificial” sounds of space? Why were signature beeps emitted by the Sputnik satellite characterized as artificial while the hiss from stars was presented as natural sound? How have sonic features of natural and artificial objects in space been conceived, produced, and interpreted by different audiences?


The naturalization of sounds from space is not simply a relic or anomaly confined to the past. More recently, news reports of space exploration missions include the transformation of physical data obtained with instruments on board of orbital satellites and interplanetary spacecraft into natural sounds. Launched in the 1970s, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft exemplify the extent to which NASA’s planetary exploration programme was and still is synonymous with photographs of planets and their moons acquired during flyby manoeuvres (Morrison and Samz 1980; Macauley forthcoming). Despite the acquisition of literally thousands of spectacular images obtained by Voyager spacecraft, many of which were widely circulated via international news media, project scientists on the Voyager mission were also keen to communicate the results from scientific experiments in space through sound rather than pictures.


In his article on the Voyager mission to the outer planets, Science editor M. Mitchell Waldrop waxed lyrical about pictures from Voyager and rejoiced in the “sheer intellectual fun” of the mission as a whole (Waldrop 1981: 1348). In addition, the article includes a vivid description of how Frederick L. Scarf from the Voyager plasma wave team converted data collected during the Voyager mission into “sounds of space”, which were played back through a conventional loudspeaker during a press conference. As Waldrop explained:


[...] Scarf creates “the sounds of space,” an eerie symphony of hisses, pops, and whistles. Voyager’s transit of the bow shock, where the solar wind first encounters the magnetic field of the planet and is forced to flow around, erupts from the speakers as a hoarse roar like the breaking of waves on a beach. For the Voyager 2 encounter with Saturn, Scarf and his colleagues outdid themselves: they played their data, which were divided into 16 frequency channels, through a 16-channel music synthesizer. The fragment of music that results is fitting accompaniment to Voyager's journey past Saturn. Slowly, dreamily, the midlevel brasses surge and ebb against a deep roll of basses and a high, floating treble. The music lasts for only a minute. But it haunts the mind. (Waldrop, 1981, 1348)


This is a fascinating example of how a space scientist used sound to communicate the physical environment of outer space. Moreover, there are other examples involving the conversion of data obtained from instruments on board of the Voyager into sound, not only to draw attention to planetary science and astrophysics experiments in space, but also to highlight the aesthetic pleasure of listening to outer space and sounds attributed to planets. A series of 5 CDs produced by a company called Brain/Mind Research Laboratories and bearing the NASA logo were released under the title Symphonies of the Planets.

Figure 2: Front and reverse cover of Symphonies of the Planets CD


VideoObject2: NASA Voyager Recordings: Symphonies of the Planets 3 (Brain/Mind Research, 1990)

According to the liner notes the sounds are “vibration soundscapes” based on recordings made by the Voyager spacecraft. The sounds are heavily processed, and their scientific basis is unclear. Moreover, NASA has a webpage with its own collection of “Spooky Space ‘Sounds’”. The use of apostrophes as scare quotes around the word sounds on the NASA webpage suggests, once again, ambivalence in terms of whether planets and other objects in outer space produce sounds that can be perceived by humans. More recently, the European Space Agency issued a press release on “The Singing Comet”, which describes how one of the instruments on board of the Rosetta orbiter “[...] has uncovered a mysterious “song” that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space” (Mignone 2014). [2]


AudioObject1: The Singing Comet. Sonification of the European Space Agency Rosetta Plasma Consortium Magnetomenter data by German composer Manuel Senfft

This small selection of space sounds described above underscores how scientists and others, such as science writers and media producers, gloss the process of converting astrophysical data into sounds of space characterized as natural, musical, and aesthetically pleasing. Precisely how and why these people seek to equate outer space with sound, music, and noise is a topic that is explored in the collection of articles in this special issue of JSS. The distinction between sound, music, and noise is another significant theme that relates to portrayals of space exploration. In sharp contrast to the lush soundscapes on the Symphonies of the Planets CDs, artists have recently used data sets from NASA spacecraft to create audiovisual displays and aesthetics that incorporate artefacts or “noise” as opposed to filtering them out. Artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt (also known as Semiconductor) used data sets collected at solar observatories to create the film Brilliant Noise (2006), featuring time-lapse sequences and soundtracks that convey the volatility of energy and hidden forces on the sun’s surface (Merrington 2011; Kahn 2013: 193-204; Macauley 2014a; Schwartz 2011).


VideoObject3: Brilliant Noise (Semiconductor, 2006)

[1] The two-day workshop Sounds of Space was kindly supported by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) Emmy Noether Research Group “The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the Twentieth Century” at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin.

[2] Spooky Space "Sounds"Spooky SoundsThe Singing Comet (Mignone 2014).

The Voyager mission is intricately linked to notions of the sound of space in other ways that are directly related to core themes and contributions in this special issue. Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft carry an interstellar message inscribed on a gold plated record and protective cover. The record, designed by planetary scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan and his associates, was meant to initiate communication with technologically advanced extraterrestrials travelling through interstellar space in the distant future (Sagan et al. 1978). The main part of the message is encoded as analogue signals in the grooves of the record and comprised of pictures, sounds, music and spoken greetings in multiple languages. In contrast to an earlier interstellar message that consists of a pictorial message engraved on a plaque and transported into space on board NASA’s Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft, the Voyager record incorporates sounds and music as well as pictures. Indeed, the record was labelled (literally and metaphorically) by the designers as “Sounds of the Earth” in order to convince terrestrial audiences that the message contained a comprehensive selection of music and other auditory material that encapsulate human emotions and the cultural diversity of humankind (Sagan et al. 1978; Helmreich 2011; Helmreich 2014).

Figure 3: Sounds of Earth. Voyager Golden Record (NASA, 1977)


Sagan and others claimed that music was intrinsically meaningful and could convey universal mathematical principles. In addition to citing the work of Plato and Kepler, Sagan referred to research by his contemporaries, such as the astrophysicist and radio astronomer Sebastian von Hoerner, to support his claim that music was both mathematical and a practical means of expressing emotion (Von Hoerner 1974; Spiegel 1989). This notion is clearly illustrated by the decision to include Laurie Spiegel’s realization of seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler’s mathematical tract Harmonices Mundi or Harmony of the World as the opening track of a sound essay on the Voyager record (Reynolds, 2011a).


VideoObject4: Laurie Spiegel’s realization of Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi 0-42 seconds at the start of the sound essay on NASA’s Voyager Record.

Claims made by designers of the Voyager Record regarding the relationship between music, mathematics, and intelligence are closely related to Kepler’s work in the field of astronomy and much older theories from antiquity on the intimate relationship between the cosmos, music, and mathematics. This aspect of sounds of space is the central theme of an article in this special issue that will be summarized later in this introduction (Pesic and Volmar 2014; Supper 2014).


Sounds of space in entertainment media is another issue that emerged during my research on interstellar communication and prompted questions that instigated both the workshop and the current JSS special issue. How have composers, musicians and sound effects engineers created sounds and music to represent outer space and space travel in radio, television and film productions? In what ways do sounds of outer space in entertainment media afford opportunities for exploring the interplay between science and popular culture in the history of spaceflight?


VideoObject5: Trailer for the 1979 movie Alien, featuring the tagline “In space no one can hear you scream” 

The tagline for the 1979 film Alien warned audiences “In space no one can hear you scream”, adding a dramatic edge to the observation that sound waves do not propagate in the near vacuum of space. Although aware of the silent conditions outside the earth’s atmosphere, this has not deterred media producers, musicians and artists from creating a vast repertoire of sound effects and music to convey not only the human voice but also technology related to space exploration and natural objects in space, notably in science fiction programmes broadcasted on radio and television as well as commercial films (Hayward 2014; Niebur 2010). From the dreamlike electronic score for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet to Kubrick’s audacious scoring of silence and orchestral music in the 1969 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the medium of cinema has had a profound influence on our conception of the relationship between sound, outer space, and space exploration (Boon 2014; Wierzbicki 2005; Krämer 2010; Sobchack 1997: 207-222).


VideoObject6: Excerpt from Forbidden Planet (1956) with the sound score by Bebe and Louis Barron.


VideoObject7: Space docking scene from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Music: The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II (The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert Von Karajan) (Sony Classical, 1968).


Despite the pervasiveness and legibility of space sounds associated with spaceflight on film, there is relatively little scholarship historicizing the relationship between space exploration, sound scores, and special effects used in films and television programmes. Contemporary digital sound libraries illustrate the extent to which at least some sounds of space in entertainment media have become standardized. [3] How and why do particular sounds become synonymous with outer space and space exploration? Similarly, why are sounds created with electroacoustic instruments, notably the Theremin and synthesizer, frequently used to denote sounds of space? Whilst rejecting technological determinism as inadequate for explaining how and why tape machines, electronic instruments, and other sonic technologies have played such a major role in creating sounds of space, it is important to consider how composers and musicians employ and shape electronic instruments to create a sonic palette and aesthetic for realizing sounds of space (Pinch 2014; Stenström 2014; Wierzbicki 2014; Kaminskij 2012; Palombini 1993; Kirby 2011: 99-101; Holmes 2008).


The title of this introduction includes the term “venturing” in reference to at least two aspects of the sounds of space workshop and the JSS special issue that involve a sense of adventure and, perhaps, a slight degree of hesitancy in undertaking an enterprise or mission with an uncertain outcome. Firstly, from the perspective of actors, professional groups, and organizations described above and in other contributions to the collection, venturing into the sounds of space was interwoven with uncertainty and ambivalence. The relationship between sound and space is mutable and historically contingent and this is evident in both scientific and non-scientific endeavours. Secondly, the decision to engage with sounds of space as a scholar entails a willingness to navigate through relatively uncharted territory. Since the early 2000s, an increasing number of researchers and practitioners from a variety of fields including (but not limited to) science and technology studies, media and cultural studies, musicology, sociology of music, and history of science have produced a growing body of scholarship on the material and discursive aspects of sound as a major component of human experience and culture (Taylor 2001; Pinch and Bijsterveld 2004; Thompson 2004; Cox and Warner 2010; Chion 1994; Kelly 2011; Helmreich 2007; Sterne 2003; Sterne 2012; Reynolds 2011b; Morat 2014). To date, despite the “sonic turn” and in the midst of excellent research initiatives in the interdisciplinary field of sound studies, research on sounds of space remains fragmentary and ancillary to other topics. Hopefully, the following contributions to this JSS special issue will delineate important issues surrounding the relationship between sound and space as well as demonstrate and elicit insights acquired through venturing into sounds of space.


Many readers of JSS will already be familiar with James Wierzbicki’s prodigious publications in the field of musicology, particularly his publications focusing on twentieth-century film music. His monograph on the electronic sound score for the 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet is widely recognized as an erudite and definitive account of how Louis and Bebe Barron created a remarkable collection of electronic sounds that have become a hallmark for sounds of space and space exploration in the science fiction film genre and beyond. Rather than focusing exclusively on his previous research on the Forbidden Planet soundtrack, Wierzbicki has contributed a comprehensive article encompassing sounds of space in popular culture since the late nineteenth century to the Space Age in the second half of the twentieth century. His article introduces four categories to make sense of the ways in which sound and music have been deployed to communicate shifting notions of outer space. He presents compelling evidence and arguments for the utility of the four categories or sub-categories of sounds of space, namely the sounds of signals from space, outer-space technology, “heavenly bodies”, and space travel. In addition, the article explores how composers and musicians have conveyed the concept and bodily sensation of weightlessness through music and how these musical works are related to the music of science fiction films.


In The Significance of Electro-acoustic Music in the Space Opera Aniara, Johan Stenström examines how the portrayal of space travel in the science fiction poem Aniara by Swedish poet Harry Martinson was adapted by Karl-Birger Blomdahl to create an eponymous and critically acclaimed opera in the late 1950s. The article skilfully shows how literary descriptions of spaceship Aniara and its journey through outer space were translated into sound using equipment borrowed from the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and techniques associated with musique concrète to create and manipulate electroacoustic sounds and music stored on magnetic tape. The sounds created for the opera include the launch of Aniara and its hazardous journey through space. Further, in addition to exploring how the opera Aniara incorporated a variety of sonic compositions to communicate different aspects of life on board the spacecraft and spaceflight, Stenström examines how the music of Aniara refers to the fictional world of the epic poem whilst giving expression to contemporary anxieties about spaceflight along with other post-war technologies including atomic bombs and the threat of nuclear annihilation.


Trevor Pinch will be a familiar name to many readers of JSS, recognized as a major figure in the field of sound studies and co-editor, along with Karin Bijsterveld, of the Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies. His book Analog Days on the synthesizer and its shaping by inventor Bob Moog and early synthesists includes a brief but tantalizing discussion of how bands in the 1970s such as Hawkwind used synthesizers to create psychedelic sounds that were meant to transport listeners to other worlds (Pinch and Bijsterveld 2012; Pinch and Trocco 2002). Pinch’s contribution Space is the Place: The Electronic Sounds of Inner and Outer Space investigates the use of Theremins and synthesizers since the 1950s to create sounds for SF films and popular music that evoke the vastness of both inner and outer space and creatures from other worlds. Interestingly, Pinch mobilizes ample evidence to support his argument that the spaces in which music is played, such as domestic interiors of the 1950s, communal living spaces, and outdoor concert venues linked to counter cultures in the 1960s, created new possibilities for creating sounds of space using electronic instruments and sound systems.


Tim Boon’s contribution Music for Spaces: Music for Space, An argument for sound as a component of museum experience takes us into the sonic environment of museums. Using the example of a performance of Brian Eno’s music at the Science Museum in London, Boon explores how staff at the Museum and other exhibition spaces have recently taken an interest in experimenting with sonic art installations and creating soundscapes based on recorded sounds to augment the museum experience. Boon’s focus on Brian Eno’s music is entirely appropriate for a collection on sounds of space given that Eno has played a central role as producer and proponent of ambient music since the 1970s. Most notably, he composed the music, along with Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois, released on the album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, which was subsequently used as part of the soundtrack for Al Reinert’s 1989 film about the Apollo missions For All Mankind. In addition to tracing the provenance and exploring constituent features of Eno’s work in relation to cinematic depictions of space exploration, Boon examines a live performance of Eno’s Apollo hosted at the Science Museum in 2009 to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Boon’s article raises and answers questions relating to the aurality of museum space and its relationship to sonic representations of space created for public consumption.


The article by Stefan Helmreich, another leading voice in the field of sound studies, is a nuanced take on the assumptions underlying the inclusion of sound recordings on the Voyager Golden Record. Helmreich invites the reader to examine the supposed universality of listening and its relationship to intelligence on earth and beyond. Informed by a unique and inspired combination of social and cultural studies, culture jamming, and situationist détournement strategies, he explores audio transmissions, collected by scientists from the organization referred to as SETI-X, assembled on the on-line portal and the CD Scrambles of Earth, originally released in 2010. Referring to the sounds as messages from extraterrestrials, Helmreich cites other instances of sounds of space that invite audiences to consider the cultural specificity and historical contingency of listening and its relationship to scientific research on interstellar communication.


Finally, in Pythagorean Longings and Cosmic Symphonies: The Musical Rhetoric of String Theory and the Sonification of Particle Physics, Peter Pesic and Axel Volmar focus on string theory and data sonification of high energy physics research from the second half of the twentieth century, framed within a longue durée stretching back to into antiquity. Their article elucidates how Pythagorian musical imagery and tropes of harmony have persisted over time, even into recent developments in theory and experimental analysis. Pesic and Volmar argue that, since the introduction of string theory in the late 1960s, string theorists have tended to employ conservative aesthetic informed by Pythagorean notions of harmony. Further, several sonifications of high energy data resemble contemporary popular or dissonant avant-garde music rather than the Romantic or modern harmonies that evoked the cosmic sublime.


In addition to these six essays, the editors add two more contributions to the current issue: a video of Karl-Birger Blomdahl’s astonishing experimental film Altisonans from 1966 and an interview with Douglas Kahn on his book from 2013 Earth Sound Earth Signal.


[3] Stock sounds of space are available on the Soundsnap digital sound library.



Agar, Jon (1998). Science and Spectacle: The Work of Jodrell Bank in Post-war British Culture. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic.


Blomdahl, Karl-Birger (Director). (1966) Altisonans. Sweden: Swedish Broadcasting Corporation.


Boon, Tim (2014). “Music for Spaces: Music for Space. An argument for sound as a component of museum experience.” The Journal of Sonic Studies 8.


Chion, Michel (1994). Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia University Press.


Cox, Christoph and Daniel Warner (eds.) (2010): Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. London: Continuum.


Dick, Steven J. (1996). The Biological Universe: The Twentieth-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Eno, Brian, Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno (1983). Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. EG Records.


Hayward, Philip (ed.) (2004). Off the Planet: Music, Sound, and Science Fiction Cinema. Eastleigh: John Libbey Publishing.


Helmreich, Stefan (2007). “An anthropologist underwater: Immersive soundscapes, submarine cyborgs, and transductive ethnography.” American Ethnologist, 34/4: 621-641.


Helmreich, Stefan (2011). “The Inner Sleeve: The Voyager Interstellar Record.” The Wire 324: 77.


Helmreich, Stefan (2014). “Remixing the Voyager Interstellar Record: or, As Extraterrestrials Might Listen.” The Journal of Sonic Studies 8.


Hey, James S. (1973). The Evolution of Radio Astronomy. London: Elek.


Holmes, Thom (2008). Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture. New York: Routledge.


Jansky, Karl G. (1932). “Directional Studies of Atmospherics at High Frequencies.” Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers, 20/12: 1920-1932.


Jansky, Cyril M. (1979). “My Brother Karl Jansky and his Discovery of Radio Waves from Beyond the Earth.” Cosmic Search, 1/4: 12-16.


Kahn, Douglas (2013). Earth Sound Earth Signal. Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Kaminskij, Konstantin (2012). “The Voices of the Cosmos. Electronic Synthesis of Special Sound Effects in Soviet vs. American Science Fiction Movies from Sputnik 1 to Apollo 8.” In Dmitri Zakharine and Nils Meise (eds.) Electrified Voices. Medial, Socio-Historical and Cultural Aspects of Voice Transfer, pp. 273-290. Göttingen: V&R Unipress.


Kelly, Caleb (2011). Sound. London: Whitechapel Gallery.


Kirby, David (2011). Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Krämer, Peter (2010). 2001: A Space Odyssey. London: British Film Institute.


Kubrick, Stanley (Director). (1968). 2001: A Space Odyssey [Motion picture]. USA: MGM.


Macauley, William R. (2010). “Picturing Knowledge: NASA’s Pioneer Plaque, Voyager Record and the History of Interstellar Communication, 1957-1977” (Doctoral dissertation). Manchester: University of Manchester.


Macauley, William R. (2014a). “Noisy by Nature: Artifacts and Aesthetics of Celestial Objects.” Science and Entertainment Media blog post 19/06/14


Macauley, William R. (2014b). “Pulsars, Pills, and Post-Punk: Designed for Unknown Pleasures.” Science and Entertainment Media Laboratory blog post, 04/11/14


Macauley, William R. (forthcoming). “Gilded Knowledge: NASA’s Golden Messages, New Worlds, and the Trade in Brilliance.” Grey Room 59


Merrington, Peter (2011). “An Interview with Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt).” Rhizome blog post 21/07/11


Mignone, Claudia (2014). “The Singing Comet.” European Space Agency (ESA) blog post 11/11/14


Morat, Daniel (ed.) (2014). Sounds of Modern History: Auditory Cultures in 19th and 20th Century Europe. Oxford: Berghahn Books.


Morrison, David and Jane Samz (1980). Voyage to Jupiter. Washington, DC: NASA.


Niebur, Louis (2010): Special Sound: The Creation and Legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Palombini, Carlos Vicente de Lima (1993). “Pierre Schaeffers typo-morphology of sonic objects” (Doctoral dissertation). Durham: Durham University.


Pesic, Peter and Volmar, Axel (2014). “Pythagorean Longings and Cosmic Symphonies: The Musical Rhetoric of String Theory and the Sonification of Particle Physics.” The Journal of Sonic Studies 8.


Pinch, Trevor J. (2014). “Space is the Place: The Electronic Sounds of Inner and Outer Space.” The Journal of Sonic Studies 8.


Pinch, Trevor J. and Frank Trocco (2002). Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Pinch, Trevor and Karin Bijsterveld (2004). “Sound Studies: New Technologies and Music.” Social Studies of Science, 34/5: 635-648.


Pinch, Trevor and Karin Bijsterveld (eds.) (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


“Radio to Stars, Marconi’s Hope.” The New York Times, 20 January 1919.


Reinert, Al (Director). (1989). For All Mankind [Motion Picture]. USA: Apollo Associates.


Reynolds, Simon (2011a). “Resident Visitor: Laurie Spiegel's Machine Music.” Pitchfork blog post 06/12/12


Reynolds, Simon (2011b). Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past. London: Faber & Faber.


Sagan, Carl, Frank D. Drake, Ann Druyan, Timothy Ferris, Jon Lomberg, and Linda Salzman Sagan (1978). Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record. New York: Random House.


Schwartz, Hillel (2011). Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang & Beyond. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books.


Scott, Ridley (Director) (1979). Alien [Motion Picture]. USA: 20th Century Fox.


Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) (2006). Brilliant Noise. UK.


SETI-X (2010) Scrambles of Earth. Seeland Records.


Sobchack, Vivian (1997). Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.


Spiegel, Laurie (1989). “Distinguishing Random, Algorithmic, and Intelligent Music.” Active Sensing 1/3.


Stentröm, Johan (2014). “The Significance of Electro-acoustic Music in the Space Opera Aniara.” The Journal of Sonic Studies 8.


Sterne, Jonathan (2003). The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction. Durham: Duke University Press.


Sterne, Jonathan (ed.) (2012). The Sound Studies Reader. New York: Routledge.


Sullivan, Woodruff T. (2009). Cosmic Noise: A History of Early Radio Astronomy. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Supper, Alexandra (2014). “Sublime Frequencies: The Construction of Sublime Listening Experiences in the Sonification of Scientific Data.” Social Studies of Science 44/1: 34–58.


Symphonies of the Planets (1990). 5-CD set. Brain/Mind Research.


Taylor, Timothy D. (2001). Strange Sounds: Music, Technology and Culture. New York: Routledge.


Tesla, Nikola (1901). “Talking with the Planets.” Collier’s Weekly, 19 February: 4-5.


Thompson, Emily (2004): The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Von Hoerner, Sebastian (1974). “Universal Music? Psychology of Music 2: 18-28.


Waldrop, M. Mitchel (1981). “The Puzzle that is Saturn.” Science 213/4214: 1347-1351.


Wierzbicki, James (2014). “The Imagined Sounds of Outer Space.” The Journal of Sonic Studies 8.


Wilcox, Fred (Director) (1956). Forbidden Planet [Motion picture]. USA: MGM.


Zakharine, Dmitri and Nils Meise (eds.) (2012) Electrified Voices. Medial, Socio-Historical and Cultural Aspects of Voice Transfer. Göttingen: V&R Unipress.